The internet is alive this morning with reports that Google has purchased $750 million worth of Lenovo stock, and while it is true that Google now owns 618.3 million shares of Lenovo, the company did not purchase them on its own. Last week Google sold Motorola to Lenovo and as part of the deal, Google received a significant stake in the Chinese PC manufacturer.
To set the record straight, Google received the stock in its deal to sell Motorola to Lenovo, and the HKSE filing was just part of the formal paperwork that had to be done. This leaves Google owning 5.94-percent of Lenovo which equates to 618.3 millions shares. Lenovo gave Google the stock at a valuation of $1.213 per share which is currently trading for $8.43 per share. With this new revelation it appears that Google did not do so bad after all in the Motorola / Lenovo deal.
In addition to selling off its VAIO PC business unit, Sony also plans to spin off its TV lineup as 5,000 employees will be given walking papers by 2015, according to recent reports.
As part of its latest restructuring plan, Sony announced it will cut 5,000 global jobs by March 2015 - and hopes to cut almost $1 billion per year in fixed costs. Sony also plans to spin off its TV division into an independent company within the next five months.
Japanese electronics manufacturers have struggled to compete against rising global competition, especially from Korean and Chinese rivals. Japan Industrial Partners will secure the Sony PC division, ensuring it won't head to Lenovo, the Chinese PC manufacturer that is No. 1 in global sales.
Popular tech e-tailer Newegg has launched its Premier Membership, a $50 yearly charge for customers looking for additional perks. Items that have a "P" badge are eligible for Premier Membership perks. A 30-day trial is available for free.
Members receive free shipping for products in less than three days, special notices for upcoming sales, members-only shopping area, lowered cost for two-day and next-day shipping, free returns, and Premier Member-only customer service.
"We developed Newegg Premier because we aspire to become the most loved and trusted marketplace on the web," Newegg said in a blog post. "We want to provide our loyal customers with speedy deliveries and exceptional customer service. We also want to attract new customers that may not know about us."
Newegg remains one of the most popular tech-centric e-tailers, though trying to compete directly with Amazon has been difficult. However, most e-tailers that try to follow in Amazon's footsteps will most likely fall flat, as Prime includes many of the same perks as Premier, along with access to a wider product catalog, music, TV episodes, and movies.
Twitter has just posted its first earnings statement as a public company, with the social network posting a net loss of $511 million for Q4 2013, but ended the year with a total net loss of a staggering $645 million.
The company did double its revenue last year compared to 2012, hitting $664 million. Unfortunately, Twitter's stock price took a huge 16% hit after the news broke. CEO of Twitter, Dick Costolo, said: "Twitter finished a great year with our strongest financial quarter to date. We are the only platform that is public, real-time, conversational, and widely distributed, and I'm excited by the number of initiatives we have underway to further build upon the Twitter experience".
Twitter attributed the $645 million loss to "$521 million of stock-based compensation expense, of which $406 million was for restricted stock units previously granted to employees, for which no expense had been recognized, until the effective date of our initial public offering in accordance with [Generally Agreed Accounting Principles]".
An unknown party has attempted to abandon the Watch Dogs trademark on behalf of Ubisoft, but the United States Patent and Trademark Office has announced that the rights to Watch Dogs have been reinstated to Ubisoft.
Rewinding back a few days, the USPTO saw a filing to abandon the Watch Dogs trademark, but the request for abandonment was a fraud, with the studio never attempting such a thing. The USPTO said in its review of the case: "Here, the circumstances are extraordinary. An unknown party who lacked authority executed the purported abandonment of the application. Although the request appears to have been sent by petitioner, petitioner declared that it did not submit the request and has every reason to believe that this filing was fraudulent. The Director finds the application should not have been abandoned. Pursuant to supervisory authority provided by 37 C.F.R. §2.146(a)(3), the Director permits the reinstatement of the application".
Last week, Facebook unveiled its new iOS app called 'Paper', but now we have design-focused startup, FiftyThree, accusing Facebook publicly for using their brand name.
FiftyThree then decided to take action to protect its brand name, applying for a trademark for the term "Paper," which was filed on January 30 - the day that Facebook announced Paper. FiftyThree already owns "Paper by FiftyThree", but only recently moved to protect the term "Paper", something Facebook has jumped on obviously.
Where to from here? According to trademark lawyers Roberto Ledesma and Victor Cardona says that trademarks, in some instances, are use-based. Cardona says: "just by using a mark in a particular field, you've got rights. Some are state-based and some are federal-based, but if I start using a mark before you in the same area of goods or services, I've got rights to the mark over you".
It was only a week ago that we reported that Google signed a 10-year patent licensing deal with Samsung, but the Mountain View-based search giant has just signed another cross-licensing agreement for patents, this time with Cisco.
The agreement will cover a "broad range of products and technologies" which will help both companies defend themselves from future patent infringement lawsuits, as well as prevent the companies from suing each other, too. Google's Deputy General Counsel for Patents at Google, Allen Lo, says that the agreement with Cisco "will reduce the potential for litigation, letting us focus instead on building great new products".
Dan Lang, Cisco's VP if Intellectual Property had similar things to say, where he said: "In today's overly-litigious environment, cross-licensing is an effective way for technology companies to work together and help prevent unnecessary patent lawsuits".
Last week I reported that Microsoft was very close to choosing Steve Ballmer's replacement, and that the search may have went no further than inside the company itself. This morning Microsoft confirmed that Satya Nadella, head of the company's Enterprise and Cloud business as the new CEO.
"Microsoft is one of those rare companies to have truly revolutionized the world through technology, and I couldn't be more honored to have been chosen to lead the company," Nadella said in a statement this morning. "The opportunity ahead for Microsoft is vast, but to seize it, we must focus clearly, move faster and continue to transform. A big part of my job is to accelerate our ability to bring innovative products to our customers more quickly."
This announcement shows that Microsoft thinks that cloud services as well as the enterprise market will continue to play a major role in the future. One of the major reasons Nadella was chosen is his long past with Microsoft as he has held many jobs at the company, and is quite familiar with how things operate around Redmond. Additionally, along with the new CEO announcement, Microsoft says that Bill Gates will be stepping down as Chairman of the Board and will take on a new Technology Adviser role. John Thompson will fill Gates seat.
The Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation, or WARF, has launched a lawsuit against Apple. WARF's lawsuit alleges that the iPhone maker infringes on a patent held by the University of Wisconsin - Madison, US Patent No. 5,781,752.
The patent in question was granted on July 14, 1998 to four university researchers specializing in microprocessor architecture. The patent is dubbed "Table Based Data Speculation Circuit for Parallel Processing Computer". The scientists' circuit, is a predictor which streamlines microprocessor performance by accurately forecasting dependencies of current instructions on previous instructions.
In non-scientist speak, it speeds up the processor, while lowing required system resources by accurately guessing which earlier instructions will match the new input, and start the desired action before the user has finished entering in the command. This is known as brand prediction in other circles. WARF is now alleging that the A7 chip uses this same specific technology that was developed in Madison.
Where the scientists have Apple, is that the company actually cites the patent itself. For Apple to defend itself, it will most likely have to reveal the inner workings of its A7 processor, which is a guarded secret to the company. WARF wants an unspecified sum of money, legal fees taken care of, an an injunction to see Apple obtain, or at least lease the license from the patent holders, or stop making A7-based devices - this includes the iPhone 5S, iPad mini and iPad Air.
Google's mystery, and most likely awesome barge in San Francisco is coming under fire, with the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission executive, Larry Goldzband, saying that the Treasure Island Development Authority could face fines if construction on Google's barge continues.
TechCrunch spoke with Google, which said that the paper work is under review, but we still don't know what Google is, or will do with its barge. Google could move its barge to the permitted construction facilities in the Bay area in order to avoid fines, but it doesn't look like Google will do that just yet.
Take-Two has enjoyed a great start to the year, reporting its GAAP net revenue for Q3 2014 at $1.86 billion. This is up a massive $415.77 million from the same quarter of last year.
The reason behind this is because of some big-selling titles such as Grand Theft Auto 5, NBA 2K14, and WWE 2K14. GTA 5 may have launched in Take-Two's Q2 2014, but it pushed its results to Q3, because of the launch of Grand Theft Auto Online. GTA 5 has shipped a massive 32.5 million copies, and NBA 2K14 has become 2K's most successful basketball game to date, with over 5 million units shipped.
Take-Two's digital content sales grew 42% year-over-year to $132.8 million, but we still have no word of GTA 5 for the PC or next-gen consoles, but Take-Two CEO Strauss Zeknick did tease: "Looking ahead, we have a robust pipeline of both new intellectual properties and offerings from our proven franchises in development, including more than 10 unique titles for the next-generation consoles".
Dell appears to be kicking its restructuring plan into high-gear if a new report from The Register is correct. The report states that as many as 1500 employees from the PC manufacturing and sales giant could be laid of before the week's end. The layoffs come as Dell settles down into private ownership again, and looks to return larger profits in a failing PC marketplace.
The report goes on to say that the staff reductions will take place company wide in all global markets, and that this lay-off round will affect 15-percent of the company's workforce. Those laid off in US-based facilities of the company will receive a severance package that consist of two months salary as well as an extra week's pay per year of service to the company. Additionally, those laid off will receive a 75-percent bonus, COBRA health insurance for 18-months, and outplacement services. No word was given on what those from countries outside of the us may receive.
Lenovo only just whipped out its card to buy Motorola Mobility from Google for $2.91 billion last week, but now the Chinese giant is reportedly in talks with Sony about a possible joint venture to take over Sony's struggling VAIO PC business.
Japanese broadcaster NHK is behind the juicy news, with Sony saying in a statement: "Sony continues to address various options for the PC business, but the press report on a possible PC business alliance between Sony and Lenovo is inaccurate". Sony says it has plans to revamp its VAIO line of devices, which has been slammed by the smartphone and tablet business.
But with Lenovo earning around 80% of its revenue from PCs, this rumor could turn out to be a very interesting one going into 2014.
The US District Court in California dismissed the class-action lawsuit that was filed against Rockstar Games and Take-Two, reports Game Politics.
The class-action lawsuit had its plaintiffs arguing that Rockstar and Take-Two failed to deliver the full, promised Grand Theft Auto V experience into GTA Online. The lawsuit claimed that the state of GTA V at launch was "unlawful," "unfair" and "fraudulent" of Rockstar and Take-Two. Judge Virginia A. Phillips disagreed, pointing out the fact that there's no indication of the online side of GTA V stating it would be available "immediately".
Considering GTA V has sold over $1 billion worth of digital mayhem, it's a quick swift decision to have the class-action lawsuit dismissed.
Amazon has revealed its Q4 2013 earnings, with a huge $25.59 billion in sales, which is up 20% compared to the same three-month period in 2012. The US retail giant posted just $510 million of that $25.59 billion in sales as operating income, which is up 26% year-over-year. As for its net income for the quarter, it saw $239 million.
The company is also reporting a record-setting holiday season for its Amazon Prime shipping service, which the company says it now has "tens of millions of members".
Motorola is free from Google now, sliding into the warm embrace that is Lenovo, but for its last quarter under the search giant, Motorola reported $1.24 billion in revenues, ending in a operating loss of $384 million.
Comparing its results to last year, revenues are down $270 million, and it lost $232 million more this year, compared to 2012. When Motorola came over to Google, it had over 20,000 employees - today, that number is just 3,894.
Google has released both its Q4 2013 and full year 2013 financial results, with the Mountain View-based search giant seeing increases in both revenue, and income.
For Q4 2013, Google saw revenues of $16.86 billion, up 17% year-over-year. Operating income for the three-month period was $3.92 billion, or 23% of its total revenues. Net income reached $3.38 billion, up from $2.89 billion from the same time last year. Google owned-site revenue was up 22% year-over-year to $10.55 billion, representing 67% of Google's total revenues.
Paid clicks were up around 31% for the quarter, with an 11% year-over-year decrease on cost-per-click. Motorola Mobility, which Google just sold to Lenovo for $2.91 billion, saw a $384 million operating loss for Q4 2013.
Its only been about half a year since Microsoft's, Steve Ballmer, announced his retirement, and today it appears that the search for a new CEO may be coming to a close. In the beginning names such as Stephen Elop from Nokia, Alan Mulally from Ford and even Marissa Mayer from Yahoo were on the short list, but if a new report from VentureBeat is correct, none of those candidates made the final cut.
VentureBeat is reporting that just 160 days after Ballmer announced his exit plan, that Microsoft could announce his successor as early as next week. The report goes on to state that it appears that Microsoft is keeping the position in the family and that its current executive VP of cloud and enterprise business, Satya Nadella, has been chosen for the top seat. Nadella has been with Microsoft for the past 20 years and has served many roles at the company, making him familiar with the company's inner workings, goals and ambitions. The report says that Stephen Elop and Tony Bates are both still in the running as well, but it appears that the odds are in Nadella's favor this time.
This morning, Facebook's stock opened at a whopping $62.10 per share which is an increase of more than 16-percent from its closing price on Wednesday. Today also marks the first time the stock has risen above $60 since it went public two years ago. Analyst are attributing the large jump in growing investor confidence after Facebook released a strong financial report for the fourth quarter of 2013.
Facebook reported yesterday that it had almost doubled ad revenue year-over-year to the tune of $2.34 billion, an increase of 76-percent from 2012. Facebook said that its mobile ads campaign now makes up more than 53-percent of its revenue, and with today's launch of Paper, a new app for iOS, investors continued to pour cash into the social networking giant. At the time of this writing, Facebook's stock is hovering around the $62 mark and is expected to rise slightly over the course of the day.
ZDNet is reporting that Apple has been blocking 4G networks to certain carriers around the world, with the Cupertino-based giant now looking at possible fines for LTE blocking in Belguim.
The Council of Ministers has ruled that no mobile phone maker can block 4G access for any carriers. Apple has a preferred partner relationship with Mobistar in the region, with Mobistar being the only officially certified by Apple to sell the iPhone. Mobistar doesn't have operational 4G network for consumers yet, but its competitors Proximus and Base do, but they are now officially certified by Apple.
Base's Corporate Affairs Manager, Coralie Miserque, wrote in a blog last November: "It was a true obstacle course; after months and months of (fruitless) attempts to approach Apple, Base finally received a typical Apple answer that the certification process was pending and would require some time. But how much time, the company refused to specify. It seems that Apple continues to protect its preferred partner in Belgium and refuses to certify its two competitors or at least is delaying the process until Mobistar has deployed its own 4G network. And this is not an exception, in other countries, Apple often grants its preferred partners 4G access months before anyone else".
Apple was awarded quite the patent on Tuesday, that might end up with consumers seeing a solar-powered MacBook being announced sometime in the future. The concept's original patent filing took place in 2010, so we might not even see this technology used by Apple in the coming years.
The patent described multiple formats which could be used, with a laptop being powered by direct sunlight. All versions did share the same core concept, that the display and functional features on both sides, were labeled as "electronic device display module". Currently displays baked into laptops have a screen on one side, and a non-functional lid surface on the other - which is for protection purposes.
Apple's new patent would see the back of its MacBook screen turned into a very special part of the device. The main concept involves a multifunctional outer surface for the laptop, which would feature photovoltaic cells, that would let the computer run indefinitely, as long as it was in sunlight.